I got tagged again, in the writers’ schoolyard, by Deborah J. Ledford, author of the Steven Hawk/Inola Walela trilogy. Crescendo, book three of the trilogy, is due out February 19, 2013. Snare and Staccato, books one and two of the trilogy, are available at the usual online stores and from secondwindpublishing.com. Find Deborah at: http://tinyurl.com/aqgz6b6
I’ve read Snare and I can recommend it. It’s a fact of fiction writing that Place is Character and Deborah J. Ledford writes Place both in terms of the outer world–the American Southwest in the case of Ledford’s novels–and the inner world–the world, or worlds, of the mind. Deborah talks about her newest novel, Crescendo, at the Second Wind Publishing Blog. Please see Deborah’s blog post at http://tinyurl.com/aqgz6b6
The Next Big Thing format runs in a Q&A. Here’s the Q & A for The Devil on Eighty-five… Title: The Devil on Eighty-five.
Where did the idea for the book come from?
I read Luis Alberto Urrea’s The Devil’s Highway and got interested in Arizona’s forbidding western deserts. I learned about Ajo, Arizona, and Rocky Point, Mexico, and about Arizona State Route 85. By day it’s a tourists’ highway. By night, it’s a smuggling corridor.
What genre does your book fall under?
Crime fiction. Subgenre: Border noir.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
You got me there. My detective hero, Manny Aguilar, is a big, dignified guy in his forties who is not “cute.” Handsome, maybe, but not boyish–and he’s got that slightly crooked nose–and, when you look at him, you get the sense that somebody broke it and Manny just kept coming until the other guy was, like, destroyed.
As for Reina, my heroine, find some tall, slim beauty in her forties with red hair and green eyes who is loving, extremely bright, funny as hell, and a pagan.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
When a woman is murdered on Arizona’s Tohono O’odham Nation and her husband is charged with the crime Manny Aguilar and the Goldman Law Firm step in to defend the accused, finding themselves in a parallel world where the scales of justice are balanced with guns and drugs.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I’ll self-publish The Devil on Eighty-five. My first Manny and Reina novel, Devil’s Kitchen, was published by Oak Tree Press and is available on Amazon and various other venues.
How long did it take to write the first draft of your manuscript?
My answer: It takes what it takes. I think I can answer that better when I write my third border noir Manny and Reina novel.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Jake Page’s The Deadly Canyon; Don Winslow’s Savages, or T. Jefferson Parker’s The Border Lords. However, truth that’s stranger than fiction drives my novels and bold Mexican journalists like Ana Lilia Perez write that truth, along with Americans like Chuck Bowden and Europeans like Ioan Grillo and Ed Vulliamy.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I was inspired by stories about Arizona’s western deserts and by the realities of border life both inside and outside the Tohono O’odham Nation.
…but the highest motive for writing is bringing out some truth that you yourself believe must get out into the world. I’m motivated to take a hard look at the Drug Wars and I think the American public should take a look the Drug Wars as well. Three things are crystal clear:
One: Mexico is in the grip of a criminal insurgency due to the limitless power of Mexican drug cartels.
Two: The United States is the market for those drugs–and, generally, denies it, preferring to blame the Mexicans.
And Thirdly: Correction: Four, not Three entities are winning the Drug Wars. Initially, I failed to mention the Banks. Research, for example, the December, 2012, HSBC bank scandal in the New York Times or Forbes. Correction, therefore: Four entities are winning the Drug Wars: The cartels, the American law enforcement establishment, the Banks, and the American private prison industry. All four of these entities get money. The addicts and the rest of us lose money.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Readers who like to identify with three-dimensional characters who’re in situations where they’ll cry if they don’t laugh will like this book. Readers who admired Bogart and Bacall will like the interplay between Manny and Reina. Readers who know about the so-called Drug Wars might find The Devil on Eighty-five interesting.